2005-07-30 / Top News

Earth Voyager Sets Record in Bayview Race

By Karen Gould

Earth Voyager,

a 60-foot trimaran from Rochester, New York, with her crew of six, stole the show last weekend by breaking the Southampton course record, finishing in 21 hours and 30 seconds in what is being called the fastest Bacardi Bayview Mackinac Race from Port Huron.

Finishing a whopping 48 hours after Earth Voyager, the last boat to arrive on Mackinac was a Shore Course adventurer, Jante II, a 30-foot Alberg owned by John Manza of Selfridge Air National Guard Base. He and his brothers completed the race in 61 hours, crossing the finish line at 1:25 a.m. Tuesday. Jante II’s corrected time was 47 hours, 54 minutes, 35 seconds.

Colt 45, a 70-foot SC-70 out of Alpena, took first place overall in the Division I Southampton course with a corrected time of 34 hours, 24 minutes, 19 seconds. Bantu, a 40-foot BL yacht from Menominee, won the Division II overall Shore Course race with a corrected time of 24 hours, 20 minutes, 18 seconds, and Insatiable, a 46-foot Tartan from Grosse Pointe, took the Shore Course Division III with a corrected time of 24 hours, 27 minutes, 22 seconds. Nice Pair, a 38-foot Crowther from Ann Arbor, finished first in the Open Division Southampton with a corrected time of 27 hours, 56 minutes, 49 seconds.

Boats are given a handicap which is used to compute a corrected sailing time and is based on weight, length, modifications, and a number of other factors. A computer program figures the handicap, along with the actual finish time to formulate the corrected finish time.

Though Colt 45 took the top prize for the Southampton run, her actual finish time, not corrected, was 17 hours, 23 minutes, 38 seconds. The 68-foot yacht Equation actually finished first, clocking 16 hours, 54 minutes, 46 seconds, but with corrected time, ended up finishing sixth. In fact, for monohulls, Equation beat the course record by more than five hours. The record previously was set in 2001 by Holua, which was the first to cross the finish line in this year’s Chicago-to-Mackinac race, though it, too, did not win the race because of the handicap process.

For the Shore Course, Rush had the fastest actual finish time of 21 hours, 23 minutes, 14 seconds, but her corrected time placed her 11th overall. The course record was set in the 1950s by the Escapade, said Peter Griffin of the Bayview Yacht Club, who sailed in this year’s race aboard Colt 45.

“Race winds were very favorable,” he said. “You could always point the boat to where you wanted to go.” He said usually a race will end up being about one-third longer because of all the maneuvering that’s needed to find good wind.

Of all entries, the trimaran racer Earth Voyager, a 60-footlong, 44-foot-wide Formula boat built in 1992, set a new Bacardi Bayview course record, beating the old record by more than two hours. Earth Voyager had set the old record of 23 hours, 14 minutes, 56 seconds in 2003.

This is the third time the boat has set a course record.

Having a similar multihull boat in the race this year made the win even sweeter, said Ryan Howie of Rochester, New York, whose father, Ray, skippers Earth Voyager. The 50-foot catamaran Wahoo crossed the finish line in 22 hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds.

Mr. Howe’s brother, Todd, who also sailed on the boat and credits their success to his father, who built it, agreed.

“Seeing someone else sailing nearby motivates us,” he said.

The majority of the race’s 255 skippers, 139 of them, chose the Southampton course, which is a 290-mile tactical course, taking racers approximately five miles off Southampton, Ontario along the eastern side of Lake Huron.

The Shore Course is the race’s original route and covers 235 miles shadowing the Michigan shoreline, crossing Saginaw Bay, with Thunder Bay Island, Middle Island, and Bois Blanc Island on the port side.

Both courses ended just off shore of Mission Point Resort on the Island’s east side. Bayview Yacht Club marked the line with flags and an air horn was sounded as each boat completed the sailing challenge.

As with the Chicago to Mackinac race one week earlier, sailors were hit with a storm early Sunday that sent several boats limping back to port, with two boats receiving damage to their main sail, one reported a broken mast and another was reported to be taking on water.

Light winds delayed the start of the race by about 50 minutes. Once underway, Todd Howe said the winds were pretty steady until about 3 a.m., when crew members were forced to reef and unreef the main sail as winds blowing at 24 knots would subside to three knots 30 minutes later. They crossed the finish line moving over 15 knots, he noted.

Race trophies will be presented at a formal award ceremony in October at the Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit. Next year’s Port Huron race takes place July 15, a week before the Chicago race. The two races rotate each year.

Race results can be found on the Bayview Yacht Club’s Web site, www.byc.com/mack05.

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